5 Easy Ways to Avoid Spam

Did you know that spammers have multiple ways of acquiring your email address, often times unknowingly.  Some of the most common ways include:

  1. Buying illegal lists of people’s email addresses
  2. Using email address “harvesting programs” which scour the Internet and copy any text that contains the “@” character.
  3. Using dictionary programs which can generate alphabetic/numeric combinations of addresses in sequences.
  4. Dishonest subscribe/unsubscribe newsletter services who sell your email for commission- A common unsubscribe scheme is when an email blast is sent out with a false “you have joined a newsletter” email. When users click on the “unsubscribe” link, they are actually confirming that a real person exists at their email address.   


To reduce the chances of your e-mail address getting on a spammers list, here are 5 simple preventative measures you can take that will go a long way in keeping not-so-delicious spam out of your in-box.

1. Use a disposable e-mail address.

If you buy products online or occasionally subscribe to web sites that interest you, chances are you’re going to get spammed. To avoid your main e-mail address from ending up on their broadcast list, set up a free Internet e-mail address with Hotmail or Gmail and use it when buying or opting in to online newsletters. You can also use a throwaway e-mail address when making purchases or subscribing to newsletters (see #2 below).

2. Create throwaway e-mail accounts.

   If you own a web domain, all mail going to an address at your domain is probably set up to come directly to you by default.  For example, an e-mail addressed to [email protected] will be delivered to your in-box.

   This is a great way to fight spam without missing out on important e-mails you want to get. The next time you sign up for a newsletter, use the title of the website in your e-mail address. For example, if the website is titled “www.greatwidgets.com,” enter “[email protected]” as your e-mail address. If you get spammed, look at what address the spam was sent to.

   If [email protected] shows up as the original recipient, you know the source since that e-mail address was unique to that web site. Now you can easily stop the spam by making any e-mail sent to that address bounce back to the sender.

3. Pay attention to check boxes that automatically opt you in.

-Whenever you subscribe to a website or make a purchase online, look out for the small pre-checked boxes that say, “Yes! I want to receive offers from third party companies.”

-If you do not un-check the box to opt-out, your e-mail address can (and will) be sold to every online advertiser.  To avoid this from happening, simply take a closer look at every online form you fill out.  –

-Also avoid confirming an “unsubscribe” request from a newsletter you do not know.  Simply delete the email.   

4. Don’t post your main e-mail address on your website, web forums, or newsgroups.

-Spammers have special programs that can glean e-mail addresses from websites without your permission. If you are posting to a web forum or newsgroup, use your disposable e-mail address instead of your main e-mail address.

 -If you want to post an e-mail address on your home page, use “info@” and have all replies forwarded to a folder in your in-box that won’t interfere with your main address.

5. Don’t open, reply to or try to opt-out of obvious spam e-mails.

 -Opening, replying to, or even clicking a bogus opt-out link in an obvious spam e-mail signals that your e-mail address is active, and more spam will follow.

  -The only time it is safe to click on the opt-out link or reply to the e-mail is when the message was sent from a company you know or do business with (for example, a company that you purchase from or a newsletter you subscribed to).


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